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Growing Up Wild

What do you do for The Nature Conservancy?

Melinda Ching:

I'm an attorney for The Nature Conservancy, and most people do not associate a lawyer with the outdoors! But I love nature and I love how legal principles can help us preserve it. 

A new survey reveals parents around the world are concerned children are not spending enough time outdoors. What is your reaction to that?

Melinda Ching:

We are fortunate in Hawai'i that connecting our children to nature is part of our lifestyle and our culture. But I think it is up to us parents to create opportunities for our kids to enjoy the outdoors and learn to care for the environment in which we live. My parents always took us camping, and my first jobs were with Youth Conservation Corps in a national park in Virginia. Their love of the outdoors and their efforts to get me and my siblings outside are why I work for The Conservancy now.

Why is it important to you that your children grow up connected to nature?

Melinda Ching:

My husband and I want our kids to love nature like we do. We have been taking the girls to the beach since they were babies. We have taken our vacations in national parks across the west. Here at home, we go hiking and spend lots of time outdoors together. My girls have hiked to waterfalls and over volcano lava and have learned about the connectedness of the people of Hawai'i to the land. I also wanted them to understand the need to take care of nature, so I have taken my girls to TNC-sponsored alien algae cleanups on the beach in Waikīkī, and we have all volunteered our time at other cleanup and restoration activities around O‘ahu. We don't just vacation here in this beautiful place…we live here and therefore must take care of it.

How does spending time outdoors impact your children?

Melinda Ching:

Both of my daughters love being outdoors, and my oldest is graduating from Boston University with a degree in marine science this year. She became interested in conservation when we participated in TNC’s alien algae cleanup events. She was 10 and we used boogie boards and burlap sacks to remove the invasive algae. I think her degree in marine science is thanks in large part to the great role models in TNC's marine programs here in Hawai'i and those volunteer activities we shared.   


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